The nuclear deal with Iran faces a setback with top Democrats announcing opposition in Congress. Despite their rejection of the agreement, Democrats are sure that it will pass Congress.
The U.S. led nuclear deal with Iran along with five other global powers announced on the 14th of July is facing debate in the House of Representatives and the Senate after the August recess and it is due for vote on the 17th of September.
Many Democrats have voiced their support for the deal, including Democrat House Leader Nancy Pelosi, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator Tammy Baldwin and others’ however Jewish Democrats have started coming out in opposition of the deal with top Democratic New York Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Eliot Engel of the Foreign Affairs Committee have issued statements that they would oppose the agreement.
According to Reuters, Schumer wrote a statement in which he said “Advocates on both sides have strong cases for their point of view that cannot simply be dismissed. This has made evaluating the agreement a difficult and deliberate endeavor, and after deep study, careful thought and considerable soul-searching, I have decided I must oppose the agreement and will vote yes on a motion of disapproval.” Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu has been attacking the deal ever since it was announced saying that it undermines Israel’s security. Many Israeli lobby groups have been spending millions on advertisements to persuade legislators to disapprove the deal, which puts further pressure on Jewish legislators. Schumer added “Better to keep U.S. sanctions in place, strengthen them, enforce secondary sanctions on other nations, and pursue the hard-trodden path of diplomacy once more, difficult as it may be.”
The deal lifts the economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the United Nations in exchange for curbing Iranian nuclear program and conducting inspections on military and non-military sites.
President Barack Obama has been lobbying himself to persuade legislators to vote No on disapproval. He has also vowed to protect the deal by vetoing any Congressional disapproval. According to Reuters, Obama spokesman Josh Earnest has said that he White House is not surprised of the decision of Jewish Democrats to vote in such manner and stated “We continue to be confident that the vast majority of Democrats in the United States Congress will make a decision based on their own conclusions and not on Senator Schumer’s.”
According to Reuters, the Democratic Senate minority whip Dick Durbin has counted that at least 14 Democratic Senators along with independents have shown support for he deal and 34 Democratic Representatives have done so as well. The Republican effort of killing the deal and overriding the Presidential veto needs two-thirds of voters in both chambers. The Senate is comprised of 46 Democratic Senators out of 100 and 188 Democrats in the House of Representatives out of 435 members. This means that the Republican effort needs at least 13 Democrat Senators and 44 House members to succeed.
Democrats are confident that the deal will pass Congress and according to Reuters, spokesman Ben Marter said “The momentum is behind this deal, as you’ve seen from Democrats coming out this week.”
Congress has until 17th of September to vote on the agreements with a procedural vote or a vote on resolution in both Senate and House of Representatives.